The ADHD trend: to assess or not to assess?

Many people are wondering about whether they or a loved one have ADHD. This term is being used a lot lately by health professionals, educators, and the media. So we thought it would be helpful to explain why there may be an ‘ADHD trend’ at the moment and what ADHD actually is.

Do I have ADHD? 

Maybe! There has been an increasing trend of people, in particular adults, wondering if they have ADHD. Social media has had a big role in this trend, with a lot of people saying they started questioning this diagnosis after watching videos about the symptoms of ADHD. Another key factor in this trend could be … brace yourselves for that dreaded word … covid. The pandemic has had an undeniable impact on mental health and with increased symptoms of depression and anxiety, comes increased difficulties with attention. These attention problems can even continue to linger once the depression and anxiety start to ease.  If you’ve noticed that your attention span has gotten worse over the last couple of years, you are most certainly not alone! The question then becomes, is it ADHD or is it something else?

Firstly, what is ADHD?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition. This means that it is due to a difference in how the brain has developed. Instead of being ‘neurotypical’, someone with ADHD has a ‘neurodivergent’ brain. Approximately 4% of Australians have this neurodivergence and it can impact all areas of a person’s life. The most typical difficulties that people with ADHD report are being unable to focus on things, getting distracted easily, and feeling restless. These difficulties can also occur for people with a history of trauma and/or mental health difficulties, like depression and anxiety.

Is it ADHD or something else?

ADHD is a difference in brain development and so we would expect to see difficulties with attention and/or hyperactivity during childhood. If your attention issues have only started to occur over the last few years, then it is probably not ADHD and is more likely due to other factors. On the other hand, if your primary school reports are filled with comments like, ‘easily distracted’, ‘day dreamer’, ‘can’t sit still’, and ‘short attention span’, then the chance of ADHD is more likely.  People with ADHD are also at increased risk of mental health difficulties, so it is possible that difficulties with attention as an adult could be due to the combination of ADHD and depression or anxiety.

How do I figure it out?

Seeking the support of a health professional is highly recommended if you’re wondering whether or not you have ADHD. People who can help are GPs, psychiatrists, and psychologists. Our ADHD assessments are conducted by psychologists and are very thorough, which helps us to figure out if the difficulties you’re experiencing are due to ADHD or due to something else.

For more general information about ADHD, see the ADHD Australia website at: www.adhdaustralia.org.au . The Australia Psychological Society also has useful information: www.psychology.org.au/for-the-public/psychology-topics/adhd-in-adults.

If you are interested in an ADHD assessment, contact us via our website, email (admin@theshellharbourclinic.com.au), or phone (1300 405 902).

The ADHD trend: to assess or not to assess?

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